Bribery is something that we typically hear about with corrupt government officials, but it can happen in a wide variety of situations and circumstances. Cases of corporate and commercial bribery are not uncommon too. It’s also important to note that both the giver and the receiver of the bribe can get into deep legal trouble, if convicted. Whether you’ve been accused of bribing a local or state official or you’re involved in some kind of corporate bribery scandal, your top priority needs to be seeking out an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.
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Elements of a Bribe
Although bribes come in many shapes and forms, it usually involves offering money, goods or services for favors. Most commonly, we might think of somebody who bribes a government official for a favorable outcome in some type of official situation. Bribes are usually completely off the books and are generally thought of as “under the table.”
Examples of Bribery
- Giving money to an official’s campaign in exchange for special government contracts.
- Bribing a judge to rule in a certain way.
- Offering goods or services to a building inspector to sign off on an inspection.
- Offering non-monetary items of value to officials for special favors.
- Bribing an officer for special treatment.
- Gift giving for favors.
Bribery is a Federal Offense
In most cases, especially where government officials are involved, bribery is a federal offense. This means, you’re facing a minimum of one year in prison, and you could face up to 15 years or more depending upon the circumstances of your individual case. Since these cases are much more complex and complicated than state or local cases, you need to have a lawyer on your side with federal case experience.
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Giving or Receiving a Bribe
With this type of crime, giving a bribe or being on the receiving end of a bribe can both be convictable and punishable offenses. No matter which side you’re on, you could be in hot water in the eyes of the law. There isn’t a traditional ‘victim’ with this type of case either. It’s typically the non-bribers and general public who are considered the victims.
Not all bribery cases are cut-and-dry through. Simple gift giving or dinners with colleagues might be totally innocent. Since there is so much variability between different cases of bribery, the prosecution will try to show that you had criminal intent. This is one of the most important reasons to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on the case. You’re going to need a strong defense.
Bribing Government Officials
Whether you’re a public official or not, this is one of the more common types of bribery. It’s also taken very seriously by the criminal justice system. If you’ve been accused of giving bribes to a government official, or if you’re a government official accused of taking bribes, you need an attorney as soon as possible. Don’t think the whole thing has been blown out of proportion or that the charges will blow over. The sooner you talk to a lawyer the better. Hiring a lawyer doesn’t imply that you’re guilty. It implies that you’re smart.
Corporate bribery is also seen quite often in the financial sector. It’s the typical one-hand-washes-the-other type situation. This can happen in real estate, the stock market, construction and just about any other type of industry where somebody can be given an advantage with a little financial incentive.
Consequences of a Bribery Conviction
Every case is different, but many bribery cases can be prosecuted at the federal level. This is especially true where government officials are involved. This means you could face one year in prison, at the minimum. Depending upon all the circumstances of your case you could be facing up to 15 years behind bars in a federal facility and expensive fines. Additionally, you’re going to have a really hard time going back to work when it’s over. A bribery conviction on your record doesn’t make you look like the best candidate for hire.
Hire a Bribery Criminal Defense Lawyer in Jackson
If you’ve been accused of bribery, you need to contact an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Don’t count on an overburdened public defender. He or she will not have the time and resources to devote to getting you cleared of all charges. A bribery conviction could impact your future, your freedom and your career. Contact the skilled legal team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for a case consultation today.